Tuesday, October 16


Some Early Matt Work

I was going through my portfolio the other day and I found a drawing I did back in 2001, one of my first commissions (the payment was a copy of Peter Kreeft's Philosophy 101: Socrates, I think--my rates have risen a bit since then), a drawing of the transverberation of S. Teresa of Avila. (Okay, so I'm a day late.)

Looking at it now, I realize how much I've grown in the last six years, particularly in terms of handling drapery and the human body--though I was very proud of the image when I did it, and not without some justification given the trickiness of the request.

It was a fun project. I was asked an image based on Bernini's Ecstasy of S. Teresa, but with the angel omitted, and all in the woodblock-inspired style I was experimenting with back even then.

The problem was how to make Teresa's swoon suitably dynamic without the counterbalance of the angel, and I found the solution by making S. Teresa's heart the center of the composition, threading out of her chest on a single artery, a detailed baptized and borrowed, oddly enough, from one of the more disturbing self-portraits of the equally disturbed Frida Kahlo, though here put to better use (and with an actual meaning as opposed to just, well, whatever she was up to--and thank goodness S. Teresa didn't have that monobrow...). This was probably the first and only time I ever borrowed anything from Kahlo, I'll have to admit, so savor the weirdness of the moment. Even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes, to quote an old Florida saying.*

*Really. The Aldermans lived six generations in Florida before I came on the scene, so they had a long time to pick up the usual folksy wisdom. If you're having trouble making sense of this one, try reading the aphorisms that embroider the late Lawton Chiles's speeches. Those are so incomprehensible, they have to be authentic.

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